Irene O'Garden on Risking the Rapids in Life and Healing

Irene O'Garden.png

Today’s guest, Irene O’Garden, has won or been nominated for prizes in nearly every writing category from stage to e-screen, hardcovers, children’s books as well as literary magazines and anthologies.

O’Garden’s critically acclaimed play, Women On Fire, starring Judith Ivey, was twice extended and played to sold-out houses Off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre. It was nominated for a Lucille Lortel Award for Best Solo Show and is published by Samuel French. Two of its monologues are published in Best Women’s Stage Monologues.

Her new play, Little Heart, about artist Corita Kent, won her a Berilla Kerr Playwriting Fellowship and was awarded full development at the New Harmony Play Project.

In this episode, Irene and I embrace the paradise of a writer’s mind. Although writing is a solitary process; the impulse is communicating with others.    

Irene shares many tips for those of us who are newer writers on the path + committing ourselves more deeply to our writing practice. Especially ways in which to write in the landscape of a busy life.

Later, we immerse ourselves in Irene’s book Risking the Rapids + how she wrote about her family members. Irene then weighs in on victimhood, taking inspiration from others, and the inquiring consciousness.

In This Episode:

  • Today’s guest, Irene O’Garden [ 6:25 ]

  • Writing is a safe place of healing expression [ 9:15 ]

  • Spontaneity creates order [ 11:20 ]

  • Navigating the fullness of life + finding the time to write [ 17:20 ]

  • Risking the Rapids  [ 27:45 ]

  • Write what you must write + decide the destination [ 30:40 ]

  • Victimhood is an unpractical way to live [ 38:55 ]

  • Should we read another person’s work while trying to write our own? [ 42:55 ]

  • Writing is a process + needs no maintenance [ 47:00 ]

  • Find a therapist to help you talk about family struggles [ 52:20 ]

  • The inquiring consciousness [ 56:00 ]

  • Irene’s most beloved writers [ 57:30 ]

  • Irene finally got a pet canary  [ 60:30 ]

Soul Shifting Quotes:

  • “The kindness part is important too; that you’re around people who are treating your dream with kindness.”

  • “So often we are afraid to look within ourselves. It is actually within us where that universal energy, love, power, and healing takes place.”

  • “Noticing within myself something is knocking on my heart; it wants to be written down.”

  • “If you can train yourself to relax in any situation, you can feel what is going on inside of yourself in a very loving way.”

  • “There is nothing that affects us more than the family that we were brought up in.”

  • “What we want to do is enlarge our vision, scope, and heart to include what is going on behind the behaviors of the people we love.”

  • “Begin playing a little bit more with the energies in life.”

Links Mentioned:

To learn more about Irene head to her website: and follow her on Instagram: @iogarden

Tag me in your big shifts + takeaways: @amberlilyestrom

Did you hear something you loved here today?!

Leave a Review + Subscribe via iTunes

Listen on Spotify